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BREAKING NEWS – Turkish coffee slated to become UNESCO ‘s Intangible Heritage

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BAKU, Azerbaijan – Turkish coffee culture and tradition is going to be included in UNESCO ‘s intangible cultural heritage list, if the proposal gets approval in the meeting in Azerbaijani capital, Baku today.

“Turkish coffee” has been included today in the meeting’s agenda to be discussed during the 8th Session of UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which will continue until December 7.

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A variety of traditional elements have been proposed to be included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage during the five day meeting of 780 delegates from 116 countries.

This session of the Committee coincides with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003. It has since been ratified by 156 countries.

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In Baku, the 24 members of the Committee responsible for its implementation will take stock of the Convention’s achievements in promoting the safeguard of this particularly fragile, living heritage.

Intangible Cultural Heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festivals, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

“This young Convention has won the world over, and generated huge public interest,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

“It has changed our way of thinking about intangible cultural heritage, highlighting the importance of living heritage and recognizing communities as its legitimate keepers,” she added.

“But challenges remain: detailed inventories must be established; efficient safeguarding measures need to be implemented; cooperation between State Parties should be reinforced; and, especially, communities must be even more implicated in the safeguarding of this heritage that belongs to them.”

In Baku, the Committee will consider 11 new candidates for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

This list, which already includes 31items, helps States Parties to the Convention to mobilize attention and international cooperation for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage at risk, with the participation of the concerned communities.

The Committee will also examine 30 candidates for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity including turkish coffee culture and tradition.

This List is an instrument for the promotion of intangible heritage.

Turkish-Coffee

It serves to raise awareness of this heritage, providing recognition of traditions and knowledge transmitted by communities and reflecting the range of cultural diversity. It does not attribute or recognize any standard of excellence or exclusivity. Turkish National Commission for UNESCO Chairman Professor Ocal Oguz said “Turkish coffee has been recommended for the list through the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism”, adding that they hope the request will be accepted.

Oguz shared that many other assets of Turkey’s culture such as the wedding dinner keskek, whirling dervishes, grease wrestling in Kirkpinar and the shadow theatre were included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list in previous years.

“The representative list is important as it makes Turkish cultural assets more recognized by the international community,” Oguz continued.

Oguz stressed that Turkish coffee is a culture more than a drink, stating that “it is known as  ‘Turkish coffee’ all around the world not because of its commodity but its style, preparation method and traditional presentation.”

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